Pierce Family Waits For Justice

Jessie Derrell Williams has spent nearly 20 years on death row, convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering Karon Ann Pierce in Jackson County.

16 people were arrested on a variety of charges after Karon's murder in 1983. Two men served time on accessory charges and both pointed the finger at Williams as Karon's killer.

Williams says he didn't do it,  but Karon's family is convinced that he and everyone else police suspected are guilty of killing her.

Looking at Sharon Alford is like looking at Karon Ann Pierce. The twin sisters were extremely close: best friends who watched out for each other, who shared secrets, and who finished each other's sentences. Sharon says when Karon died, so did she.

"I don't think I did cope. I really don't. I turned to alcohol and within the last few years I'm a recovering alcoholic ya know what I'm sayin', you never cope with something like this," says Sharon.

Sharon says she has watched her mother struggle to cope,  knowing that constantly seeing Sharon keeps the pain alive of losing Karon. Their mother says knowing that Karon's killer could be executed before the end of the year may finally ease almost 20 years of grief.

"I'll just be glad when it's all over with. Maybe we can halfway close the book if not completely. It hurts because she died alone, nobody with her, it really hurts," says Karon's mother, Waldine Riley.

Karon's family doesn't visit her grave very often. They say it's a sad reminder of everything she missed in life.

Sharon says, "I see what she could have been and I hate that she couldn't get married, she couldn't have kids."

Sharon says she's thought long and hard about watching Jessie Darrell Williams die. She says she'll be there when that day comes.

"I'm tryin' to forgive the man but I hate what he's done. I hate that his family's havin' to suffer through this, as well as my family, but it's time. He served his time here on this planet and now it's time for him to meet his maker. They took her last breath from her. I'm gonna see him take his last breath.

"The sooner it's over with, the better we're all gonna be includin' his family, I reckon, I don't know. I feel for them, I feel for his daughter and his mom and all but there's nothin' we can do about it now, it's outta our hands, it's somebody else's decision," says Waldine.

While they wait for Williams to pay with his life, Karon's family is most haunted by the brutal way in which she died. According to an autopsy, Williams slit her throat and sexually mutilated her,  leaving her to bleed to death.

"I just don't see why in the world they didn't just go ahead and shoot her and get it over with instead of torturin' her. It just ain't human nature, it just ain't right that baby to go like she did," says Waldine.

The attorney general's office says they expect to hear something any day regarding Williams's execution.